Ethiopia: Nation Eyes On Mechanization Agriculture

ADDIS ABABA - Despite challenges in making use of technology in farming coupled with low farmers' awareness to this regard, the country is striving to ensure nationwide mechanized farming, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said.

Though it is small portion of the national cropland, farmers who are engaged in a vast farming are now cultivating 1.4 million hectares of land through utilizing agriculture machinery Ministry Agricultural Mechanization Director Tamiru Habte told The Ethiopian Herald.

Out of the total of the national 14 million hectares of cropland, only five percent is being cultivated using mechanization agriculture, he said.

However, understanding the ineffectiveness of working in a small holding and sole farming, farmers are keen on working in vast farming and additional four million hectares of land would be cultivated next budget year through utilizing modern technology, he added.

Therefore, the farmers are looking forwards using modern technologies which require cooperative cultivation activities in those farmlands, he noted.

Accordingly, the productivity of vast farming by private farmland is comparatively low than those organized farmers but with small economies, he noted.

"The organized farmers produce 35 quintals of wheat per hectare while the private ones' yields around thirty."

The private owners are similar to the smallholders in technology utilization and that is why the ministry is striving to increase the number of farmers that use technology, he said.

The technological support includes agricultural input, machinery and selected seed at fair price, according to him.

There is also initiation to support the private farmland through material and technical assistance and extensional services, he stated.

The effort is to ensure food resilience, substitute import and supply quality agricultural product input to the growing number of industries, he stressed.

"On the other hand, there is low investment in the sector and companies are not possibly attracted to engage in importing agricultural technologies."

As to Tamiru, various developed countries that Ethiopia taking as role model were once invested widely in agricultural mechanization.

Revising the overall structure of the sector, providing incentives and building the capacity of agricultural input suppliers is critical to save the sector from sluggish productivity and to transform it to mechanized level, he underlined.

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